Riyad Mahrez’s agent Kamel Bengougam has thrown the Leicester City winger’s future in doubt by saying there is a “50/50 chance” the Algerian could leave the King Power Stadium amid reported interest from Spanish champions Barcelona.
Mahrez, 25, has been one of the club’s standout performers as his 17 Premier League goals and 11 assists earned him the PFA Player of the Year award and helped his side claim the English league title for the first time.
“When you have been playing the way Riyad has this season it is bound to attract attention. He is very happy with Leicester and of course it has been a fantastic season,” Bengougam said.
“They will play in the Champions League next year as well so he would be happy to stay. But at his age if the opportunity comes to play for a big team then we would have to think about it. I’d say it’s 50/50 at the moment whether he stays or goes.
“We have interest from the UK and overseas.”
Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, Leicester’s vice-chairman, said earlier this week that the club are determined keep hold of their keys players and manager Claudio Ranieri warned his payers in February that they could end up “carrying bags” at bigger clubs if they leave
Everton do not expect Leicester City to ease off for Saturday’s clash at the King Power Stadium despite the fixture coming six days after the Foxes were confirmed as Premier League champions, manager Roberto Martinez has said.
Leicester clinched the English league title for the first time in their 132-year history on Monday when second-placed Tottenham Hotspur drew at Chelsea, leaving them seven points behind the leaders with only two games left to play.
Claudio Ranieri’s men will be presented with the Premier League trophy after Saturday’s game regardless of the result.
“I don’t think in a 90 minute game where the stadium will be surrounded in an historic environment, I’m sure that can only be positive for the home team,” Martinez told reporters on Thursday.
“They have been a real inspiration in terms of a winning team, and not just in football, throughout sport… has been the real fairytale of football and sport in general in the modern game.”
Martinez has come under increasing pressure with a number of supporters remaining inside Goodison Park after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Bournemouth to unfurl banners calling for the Spaniard to end his three-year tenure. Naija and Bet
Continue reading Martinez expecting no gifts at Leicester
Cristiano Ronaldo lauded the impact made by Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane as the Frenchman led the Spanish giants into the Champions League final with a 1-0 win over Manchester City on Wednesday.
Brazilian midfielder Fernando’s first-half own goal was the only difference between the sides over two legs as Real set up a repeat of the 2014 final against local rivals Atletico Madrid in Milan on May 28.
Zidane replaced the sacked Rafael Benitez with Madrid in crisis in January, but has sparked just Real’s second run to the final in the 14 years since he scored the winning goal against Bayer Leverkusen for Real in 2002.
“Zidane is doing a great job,” said Ronaldo.
“I admire him as a coach and a person, I hope he continues in the job.
“We’ve always been behind Zidane because he is a humble person who likes to listen, and that always makes things easier.”
Ronaldo made his return after a three-game absence due to a thigh injury, but was unable to match his own record of 17 Champions League goals in a single season in a tight game short on clear-cut chances.
“It was a complete game, the team played really well and we could have finished them off with a second goal — 1-0 is a tight scoreline but it’s enough,” added Ronaldo. Naija and Bet
Continue reading Ronaldo hails Zidane as Real reachUCL final
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has promised his side won’t be afraid to attack Real Madrid in their bid to reach a first ever Champions League final on Wednesday.
City travel to the Spanish capital with the tie finely balanced at 0-0 hoping to stop a Madrid side that has scored 18 goals without reply in five European games at the Santiago Bernabeu this season.
However, despite the expected return of three-time World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo from a thigh injury, Pellegrini has encouraged his side to go in search of the away goal that could seal their place in the final in Milan on May 28.
“We will try to play the way we play every week,” said Pellegrini, who will leave City to be replaced by Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola at the end of the season.
“The best way to reach the final is to play the way we know.
“We tried in Manchester and from the first minute we will try to have possession of the ball and attack.
“We know we need to give a very good performance to reach the final.
“It would be the first time we’ve reached the final. We’ve won a few domestic titles in the last four years, but it is for the history of the club and to do it we must play a very good game.” Naijabet
Continue reading Pellegrini promises City will attack Madrid in UCL semi-final
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri believes England’s rich clubs will dominate the Premier League for the next two decades despite his team’s unlikely run to their first top flight title.
“Big money makes big teams and usually big teams win. Now we can say only 99 percent of the time,” the 64-year-old said.
“Next season will be the same and for the next 10 or 20 years, it will be the same,” he added after his 5,000-1 outsiders clinched the trophy on Monday.
He noted surprise winners emerge once every 20 years, with Nottingham Forest in 1978, after promotion the previous season, and Blackburn Rovers in 1995, three years after going up.
“How many years after Nottingham Forest and Blackburn have another team won?” said Ranieri. “The richest, or the team who can pick up the best players to make a team, will win.” Naija and Bet
Continue reading ‘Rich clubs will rule EPL for 20 years’
Atletico Madrid are not seeking revenge for their 2014 Champions League final defeat but instead want to write a new chapter in the club’s history with their first European Cup after getting past Bayern Munich.
The Spanish side, who also lost the 1974 European Cup final to Bayern, advanced to the showpiece match on the away goals rule after losing 2-1 on Tuesday for a 2-2 aggregate result.
They got to the final two years ago, losing to Real Madrid, who face Manchester City at the Bernabue in the other semi-final on Wednesday after a goalless first leg.
“We are not out for revenge,” said Atletico striker Fernando Torres, who set up the first goal and missed a late penalty.
“We want to write history. We have not won this trophy and we do not care who it will be, whether Real or Manchester City.
“It was not about revenge for 1974 tonight nor is the final about revenge. It is a new chance and maybe we can write some memories,” he added. Naijabet.com
Continue reading Atletico ready to write Uefa Champions League history
Leicester City’s Premier League title dream became reality on Monday as their only remaining challengers Tottenham Hotspur drew 2-2 at Chelsea to complete one of the greatest ever sporting achievements.
The result provoked an outpouring of celebration in the provincial English city and as far away as Thailand and Japan, with Leicester’s players having watched nervously on television along with Foxes fans packed into local bars 160km away.
Goals from Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Son Heung-min had looked like extending the title race to the penultimate week of what has been an unforgettable season.
Gary Cahill gave Chelsea a lifeline just before the hour, however, and substitute Eden Hazard’s superb 83rd-minute equaliser ended Spurs’ slim title hopes to the delight of Leicester and their former Chelsea manager, Italian Claudio Ranieri.
As tempers flared at the end of a red-hot London derby at Stamford Bridge, television pictures cut away to Leicester’s players celebrating in the living room of their striker Jamie Vardy, whose 22 goals have under-pinned his side’s challenge.
Elsewhere in Leicester, the city’s biggest ever party began in earnest, with hundreds of fans gathering outside the stadium and thousands more celebrating in pubs and bars.
Leicester’s unlikely journey from no-hopers to English champions has captivated sports fans worldwide, nowhere more so than in Thailand, home of the club’s owners King Power. Naija and Bet
Continue reading Leicester City win Premier League title after Tottenham draw at Chelsea